Thursday, April 9, 2015

BIRD WORK - April Poem #9

Today I'm doing the taxes, but poetry comes first. Even when it's a struggle, I'd rather at least attempt to write poetry than do the taxes. Today's poem combines Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides prompt, to "write a work poem," with There Is No Pilot's directive to write a sonnet. Writing a sonnet is work in itself, and as I sit here at my desk I can look out the window at two feeders where an assortment of birds - hummingbirds, quail, doves, curve-billed thrashers, house finches, and sparrows, at the moment, though a pyrrhuloxia or some goldfinches may show up - are also at work. I feel very lucky to have such an abundance of wildlife to watch in my yard (the lizards are also busy this time of year, and we have a lovely blonde tarantula making her home on one of Joe's recently built terraces, but this poem's not about them - maybe later).


They have one job that comes first. It's eating,
so they can perform their other tasks:
fleeing predators, building nests, mating,
feeding and protecting their young, who lack
skills, except eating and defecating,
the last quite cleverly, hanging their back-
sides over the nest edge and not shitting
in it.  Hygiene, instinct, a clever knack.

That's how we dismiss their accomplishments.
Free as a bird, we say, like they don't toil,
hunting and being hunted, always intent
on seeking insects in air, grubs in soil,
seeds, water, sticks and safe places for nests.
Nor do they sing only to bring us joy.

                  - Victoria Stefani (draft)

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